“Five million naira! Five million naira!! Benny, I don port o!” I shouted aloud at the top of my voice right inside the Baba Ijebu lotto office.
I had played and lost money several times in the past, playing a particular number in my attempt to win a fortune. On this day, I just could not believe my luck! I had just won five million naira!
Benjamin, my roommate, a fellow lotto player and friend, was there with me as usual. We always prayed for luck to shine on us whenever we played Baba Ijebu and now that it had, we were finding it hard to believe. God had come through for us at last.
Benjamin and I hugged each other tightly, grinning like fools and offering prayers of thanksgiving to the heavens.
“You don hammer!” Ben said for the umpteenth time. “Chindu!! Five million naira!”
People around congratulated me and in that celebratory mood, I used the little cash I had to get drinks for everyone present. Compared to what I had just won, three thousand naira was nothing.
I still had to be extra careful though. Ajegunle boys would stop at nothing when money was involved. Those smiling and congratulating me would not hesitate if they got an opportunity to snatch my win away from me.
Ah! Dupe go hear am! Shey it’s money she is after, that was why she dumped me for that illiterate Ajegunle champion. Never in Dupe’s wildest dreams would she have imagined I’d become a millionaire a few weeks after she dumped me for the local rogue. After our break up, I had decided to stay away from girls as they had caused me nothing but trouble and heartbreak.
Ben and I parted ways at the entrance of the lotto office expecting to have my account credited with the cash later in the day.
Ben was an accountant and like a brother to me. I could trust him with my life. That night, we got ourselves a hotel room to discuss how the money would be spent.
Getting a nice car was the first thing on my mind, but then Ben was not in support of that. He advised me to focus on pushing my music career rather than lavishing money on things that would diminish in value over time. I was later convinced to take his advice as he continued to advance his point.
Obviously the mention of Ajegunle should make you know I am not close to being ajebo, even though my look contradicts this fact. I was born with a wooden spoon and my parents lived in a two-bedroom rented apartment somewhere in Ajegunle.
They weren’t wretched, but they weren’t wealthy either. At least they were able to sponsor me and my three siblings education to an appreciable degree.
My father was a retired school teacher, and my mom a cook. He established a local restaurant for her by the road side where, transporters, okada riders, labourers and the rest of the kinds stopped by to eat. It is in no doubt they sacrificed a lot for us all to go the university.
I couldn’t sit at home doing nothing after graduating from the university. I’ve always had a flair for music, and while I was still in school, I recorded songs and collaborated with some and upcoming musicians for quick cash. My parents weren’t comfortable with this but they could not stop me. Being jobless clashed with my love for music.
Things became unbearable, so I left the house for Ben’s place, a one-room apartment in ‘AJ city’, which is what we call Ajegunle. With this move, I could practice more and get some odd jobs.
I would produce beats for upcoming artistes at moderate charges, just enough to keep body and soul together.
Ben on the other hand was also living on a meagre salary from the small audit firm he worked. Life at that time was about surviving on what little we could lay hands on to put food into our empty bellies, and of course, to play the lotto.
Little did we know things would change for the better, and overnight too!
My priority later changed from getting a car first to getting a good place to live in. It would be embarrassing for a new millionaire to be seen in, not to talk of living in a ghetto like AJ city. So I decided to move to Lekki. How expensive could it be? After all, I had five million naira!
To be continued…